The history of skateboarding began in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s. The first skateboards were made by attaching roller skates to a wooden board. These early versions of a skateboard had a vertical bar at the front of the wooden board to help the rider maintain control of the board as they were riding. This device is most often referred to as a scooter, yet it is the earliest form of a skateboard.
From the late 1950s, these first skateboards were built inside of a surf shop in California without the vertical bar used for control. A surf shop was the first to build these new skateboards because the boards were utilized by surfers when they weren't out riding the waves. The owner of the California surf shop, Bill Richards, started to produce these new skateboards and "sidewalk surfing," as it was often called, became increasingly popular.
Several years later in 1962, a skateboard manufacturer named Hobie Alter started a large scale production of skateboards, making them more widely available, as well as more affordable. Skateboarding became more popular within the next few years and the first skateboarding competition was held in a Hermosa, California Middle School in 1964. The next year, there was the first National Skateboarding Championship.
As skateboarding grew to be even more popular, the history of skateboarding became filled with more memorable events, such as a feature on the cover of "Life" magazine in 1965, as well as an Academy Award win for the 1965 skateboarding film "Skater Dater." One of the most notable events in the history of skateboarding occurred in 1971 when Richard Stevenson made important improvements to the current style of the skateboard–a kicktail and concaves on both sides of the skateboard, which made the devices look less like surfboards.
The late 1970s were also key years in the history of skateboarding. During these years, Guy Grundy set an incredible record for the highest speed achieved while riding a skateboard–a fast 68 miles per hour! Also, nearly 300 skateparks opened and over 40 milliion skateboards were sold to consumers in the United States. The common and very popular skate trick, the ollie, was also invented during the late 1970s by skateboarder Allen Gelfald. Soon after, however, many of the new skate parks were closed due to many injuries from the sport, but skateboarding still remains very popular to this day.